Wave-girt land

Wave-girt land

A little old-fashioned, this ‘girt’, but still an unexpected way to speak of an island, focusing more on its surrounding sea than its sea-proud land. ‘A splendid midsummer shone over England: skies so pure, suns so radiant as were then seen in long...
Gold-ringed eyes

Gold-ringed eyes

Jane Eyre’s curious aquiline simile to describe the blinded eyes of the man she loves. ‘The caged eagle, whose gold-ringed eyes cruelty has extinguished, might look as looked that sightless Samson.’    Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre...
Outlandish-looking grammar

Outlandish-looking grammar

Although I’ve managed to master a couple of foreign languages, outlandish-looking grammar has so far stymied my repeated, and repeatedly failed, attempts to learn German beyond anything but the most passive reading capability.Here, a highly dutiful,...
Another long letter

Another long letter

Those were the days when conversations at a distance had to be committed to paper, and I like Bronte’s preparation for writing a long letter on the grounds that the addressee’s own letter caught her interest. Along with one of my brothers, I am on a...
Deep-thrilling chord

Deep-thrilling chord

Jane Eyre knows Rochester has been emotionally overloaded and hesitates to add any more weight to his burdened heart. ‘I wished to touch no deep-thrilling chord – to open no fresh well of emotion in his heart.’   Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane...
Sand-traced effigy

Sand-traced effigy

Thoughts are intangible and yet can prove more indelible than things physically wrought. The idea of a sandy effigy effaced by storms reminds me also of advice often heard from someone I love: that when someone says something hurtful, you treat it like words written...
Hill-sent echo

Hill-sent echo

An inexplicable and even supernatural moment in the book that proves a turning point, snapping Jane out of her acquiescence to a situation she manifestly doesn’t want.  The hill-sent echo is like a calling. She duly responds.   ‘”Where are...
Life-giving elixir

Life-giving elixir

These fine-minded sisters come into an inheritance adequate to free them from having to face the economic implications of remaining unmarried.  Now their spirits can expand to fill the space they were born to.  I liked the combination of ingredients in their...
Light-footed running

Light-footed running

One of the qualities Rochester loves and admires in Jane is her uprightness.  While willing to help him in any way she can, he knows she wouldn’t lift one of her fairy-like fingers if he asked her to do something she thought wrong. As he learns when she walks...
Fairy-like fingers

Fairy-like fingers

Mr. Rochester falls in love with Jane: her excellent mind and independent spirit, as well as her petite proportions, here evoked in his ring-promises. ‘… and I will clasp the bracelets on these fine wrists, and load these fairy-like fingers with...
As serene as …

As serene as …

A novel image for serenity. Use it next time you are describing someone or something serene. ‘He was serene as glass.’   Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (London: Bounty Books, 2012 (1847)), p. 518 Photo credit: MichaelGaida at...
As still as …

As still as …

So even the regular church-going Victorians only did their duty on Sundays. A nice way to convey stillness – an empty church on a week-day. ‘It was as still as a church on a week-day.’   Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (London: Bounty Books,...
As powerless as …

As powerless as …

Bronte has a wonderful range of simile and metaphor, here demonstrated in powerlessness being likened to stubble thrown into a furnace. See also another of her images of vulnerability. ‘Physically, I felt, at the moment, powerless as stubble exposed to the...
A quivering of shattered pinions

A quivering of shattered pinions

What a potent, heart-rending image of longing, echoing the Spanish word for lame or broken-winged, aliquebrado. See an earlier image of impotent vulnerability in Jane Eyre. ‘… only a sad heart broke it. … it demanded him with ceaseless longing; and,...

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